First Bike Build – Questions…
OK, more than willing to have a go. Quetions:
1. What tools do I need to do these 2 tasks? Do I need a headset press and if so aren’t these pretty expensive?Posted 9 years ago
2. How can I screw it up? eg: is it likely that I might cross thread the bottom bracket, and if I do, how easily fixed is it?JengaMember
It’s quite difficult to mess up BB installation. Use some copper slip on the threads, and fit it by hand. Once you know that the threads are nicely engaged then you get the spanner out. It’s just like threading any other nut and bolt; if it won’t turn you’ve got it wrong, so back off and start again.
Headset presses can be bought, but you can make one from a thick threaded bar, some thick washers and some nuts. All available from B&Q.
Where are you based? If you ask kindly and supply some chocolate hobnobs there are plenty on here who will lend you the tools and show you how it’s done.
Building a bike is easy – I’ve done one this week. Just take your time and be patient. Don’t be afraid to walk away and have a cuppa just to clear your mind.Posted 9 years agoTandemJeremyMember
You can manage without a headset press. careful use of a hammer and a block of wood or make your own press from threaded bar.
However if you are not confident of how to do it get your LBS to do it or get someone to show you.
Use grease and copperslip in the appropriate placesPosted 9 years agomolgripsSubscriber
I’ve fitted headsets with a hammer and wood. It was a major faff and took ages. I’ve also tried it with threaded bar and washers etc – it was not great. I’d say it’s worth the £5 a decent shop would charge you to have them do it.
Fitting a BB tho is easy. Whether or not you need the cups facing is another matter tho.Posted 9 years agoMoreCashThanDashSubscriber
When I did my first bike build, I got the headset faced/fitted by the LBS, built up most of the rest (the BB was easier than I expected as people have said above), and then got the LBS to fit the disc brakes and give it a once over as they were offering free fitting.
I am a complete mechanical numpty, but that first attempt gave me some confidence, and if I am ever allowed another frame I may buy a headset press and try and do the lot myself.
I may well get a friend to give it it’s first test ride though!Posted 9 years agoratadogSubscriber
I am also a complete mechanical numpty but have built up two frames for myself and 3 for friends over the last couple of years.
CRC sell an Xtools headset press for around 35ukp. I found one on ebay somewhat cheaper. The Park tools headset/BMX BB bearing press is efficient but pricey and Park tools other headset press costs more than at least one my bike builds ( an ebay special ) and therefore a no-no in my book. There are currently a couple of 10ukp rod and nut presses on ebay if you are happy for someone else to do the DIY work. There are several basic tool kits from various manufacturers that give you the various proprietary spanners for cranks, cassettes etc. Lifeline’s one seems to get the good write ups although I accumulated the tools in bits and bobs so have a cross-section from Park and Pedros to Halfords and Whoknows
The Crown race installers are basically tubes that slide over the steerer tube and whack the crown race into place. You can get machined rings to get a better contact with the crown race, again courtesy ebay but for the whacking I have used a length of white push fit waste pipe (ex B&Q, leftover from a bathroom makeover, 0ukp) with no issues for about 10 installations – drop on crown race and tube, invert, whack on bench until home. Headset cup remover is a length of pipe with a few longitudinal cuts at one end and the resulting segments splayed out. 12 inch length of copper pipe and a hacksaw and it works very efficiently. Agree with the comments about starnut setter. Xtools one is cheap and easy to use.
Most important item is probably a decent manual – I have one from Bicycle Illustrated which covers road and MTB and has piccies for thickies like me and also Zinn for MTB who seems to have anticipated most of my worries. Torque wrench gives a little peace of mind that you aren’t overstraining the bolts. Only job I wouldn’t fancy tackling is facing headtubes/BB shells or cutting BB threads as the tools to do these jobs are hideously expensive as will be the cost of fouling it up.
Then there comes the time when you decide that for completeness you should buy the wheels as two rims, two hubs and 64 spokes…. but that is a different thread I suspect.
Have fun.Posted 9 years agodavidtaylforthMember
When Im putting in a headset, I usually put the headset cups in the freezer for 10minutes, this shrinks them ever so slightly and makes fitting them a bit easier.
Best thing is to get a mate to hold the frame against a work bench, then line up the hs cup and tap it lightly with a hammer and block of wood. Once you can see its lined up and going in straight then go for it.
If it isnt going in straight then stop and knock it back out and start again.
Ive installed loads over the years and never broken one.Posted 9 years agosodafarlsMember
I’d suggest paying £20 to get the head tube and bb faced. That’s it really.Everything else is easy enough if you take your time, and even what I would consider an expensive frame (ie my santa cruz )can have seriously lumpy edges which negate the point of installing a quality bb or headset.Posted 9 years agoPeterPoddyMember
never understood why you need the bb faced, there’s no way it’s going to make any difference to the alignment of the bearings, unless the cups are made out of something flexible that is and mine don’t seem to be
It’s not necessary with Sq Taper or Hollowtech as they sit inside the shell, all in one piece. With HT2 you have 2 SEPERATE parts which butt up against the outer edges of the BB shell. If those outer edges aren’t paralell, then it follows that the 2 bearing shells aren’t as well. Facing makes them perfectly parallel. Same goes for headsets, same principal
Although it does have to be said that most half decent or better alloy frames are done at the factory these days and have been for a few years now. I’ve only ever needed to get steel frames done, and then it’s more a case of removing extra paint than anything….Posted 9 years agojonbMember
My first bike build I got a bike shop to do the headset and crown race. This was only after I damaged the crown race tring to diy it myself, mechanically sealed, hit too hard and deformed. Did the star nut when I was there too. I did everything else as it’s just a case of tightening bolts up.
My second bike build I did absolutely everything except build the wheels (and anything involving molten metal, forging and welding for the pedants). I used the washers, bolts and threaded bar approach for headset fitting and the crown race was asplit so easy. Star nut was nistalled using a sacrificial bolt I found in the shed. Just tapped in with a hammer.
My advice would be consider what you are building. My first bike was brand new kit onto a brand new frame, no point IMO bodging an expensive headset onto an expensive frame. Either get the tools and do it properly or get someone else to do it properly. Second bike was a second hand frame with cheap bits so I wasn’t as fussed.
If you want advice on building then try the parktools website, it will list the tools you need as well as giving the instructions on how to do a task. This is my online bible of bike maintentance. You don’t need to buy park tools though if you don’t want to. Some things may be worth it if you use them all the time but others are only used occasionally so I get cheaper ones. I’ve found CRC brand x to be perfectly servicable. Also spanners and mallets can be got from a DIY shop!.
I have recently come across this website, not really delved into it but as my GF gave me a horrendous cold for valentines day I’m not riding this weekend so will be using it to service a freehub (ahh the romance!).
JonPosted 9 years ago
Thanks everybody, that’s excellent advice (ratadog & jonb in particular for your detailed posts). Quite fancy having a go myself. I’ve ripped a bathroom to pieces before and installed a new one even though I had no prior knowledge of plumbing so I should probably have a go at this. Just a bit worried that I have a brand new Meta 6 frame + Hope BB & Headset. If I screw it up thats a fair bit down the drain. If I do screw it up is it easily recoverable, or will it be expensive and difficult to fix?
Bakey, I’m on the east side of Manchester but would could easily come to Chester if you’d be prepared to give me a little bit of your time to help. I ride round there a lot, Moel Famau, Llandegla etc.Posted 9 years agoratadogSubscriber
I started with a Kaffenback road frame and fork and was prepared to take the hit if it all went wrong. I agree with the posts after mine that most alloy frames come with the headset and BB shell faced. The bulk of the frames I have built up came out of the On-One stable and the official view there was that all their frames were faced in the factory before being painted so any unevenness was the paint. As I was using cartridge BB’s, either square taper or octalink where the cartridge holds the bearings in line, then this wasn’t a problem with the BB and the consensus appeared to be that unless you were shelling out 100ukp plus for a Chris King headset then you shouldn’t be worried about a minor inconsistency with the headset cups.
No experience, but from what I have read then I agree that the consensus appears to be that if the BB shell hasn’t been faced at the factory then it would probably be better to get the BB shell faced, if using Hollowtech or one of the other external bearing BB systems.
Can you do damage – Yes. Press the cups in at a severe angle from the true and you risk ovalising the headtube/shell and I can’t remember exactly how you correct it but I do distinctly recall it’s a job for a frame builder and somewhere between a lot of money and a start again with new frame.
Having said that, if you have the bike in a workstand so you can see the seat of the action easily ( again, doesn’t have to be expensive, I got a foldable one that supports the frame from underneath for about 30ukp, ebay again ) and a press, make sure that the cups are lined up properly and engaged all the way round before you start tightening and take things steadily checking the alignment as you go then you should be fine.
I agree that it depends on whether this is your first and only bike build or your first of many bike builds. If the former then given the expense of the components, use the LBS ( and ideally get them to let you watch and ask questions ), if the latter then the cost of the various tools becomes worthwhile but you can still decide to accumulate them slowly and use them for the winter bike, play bike, singlespeed, wife’s bike, mistress’ bike, guy down the street’s bike. It’s not the tools that are expensive or the tasks that are difficult. It’s finding a way of justifying/subsidising the cost of the bits for the next build. Done via sales/ebay etc. I reckon 3-4 months to find all the right bits at the best price I can do and about a week of time in and out of the garage provided I ration out the jobs to put them together – Yes I know it can be done a lot quicker if you just go for it but some things should be savoured.
Wheel building took a little longer to get established because the only way to make it financially viable was to follow the Wheelpro/Roger Musson route and build the jig and the tools first and then the wheels. Takes almost as long for me to build and true a set of wheels as it takes me to build up a frame but the cost of the bits is a lot less. Hence my wife’s bike is about to get a new set of wheels that she didn’t know she needed.
DavidPosted 9 years agopjt201Member
Peterpoddy, why would it matter whether the two edges of the bb are square. surely it’s the threads in the bb that ensure that the cups are in line? with the plastic spacers on shimano systems will take out any imperfections in the bb face anyway.
did people ever used to face bbs? as surely the lockrings on square taper systems still sit up against the bb face (otherwise you could just thread them all the way in…)Posted 9 years ago
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